This poem is dedicated to Euroasian leaf warblers commonly found in Ukraine and Russia.
The Great Steppe stretches wide in her sleep.
Spreading their wings
Warblers are reading to war.
Until now, most ordinary birds,
they were called into action.
Beating hearts in ruffled feathers
from Quaker grey to military green
they no longer hide amongst the leaves.
Under the heavy steel of gathering clouds
they want to fly as high as eagles
without a stop or hesitation.
The Great Steppe stretches wide in her sleep,
counting the grains of dust it had shifted for centuries
and all the warblers – wood, dusky, willow and common chiffchaffs.
The Great Steppe dreams deep in her sleep,
from left to right on the map that someone reads from the right to left
with all its rivers, mountains, borders and creases.
The Great Steppe becomes deaf in her sleep,
and warblers’ chafferings, however urgent and annoying, melt into the bombings.
Taste of metal in their little beaks and the whooshing sound, like tinnitus in their ears.
Confused by the dust, their world is no longer borderless.
Do they look left or right? Right or left?
Europe or Asia?